Gig Harbor BoatShop Eddon Boatyard 3805 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor, WA 98335 (253) 857-9344 Hours:Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Paintings go on display the day of the parade in Gig Harbor so stop in and support your local business... it's always a party! G.A.- off painting "beyond the river's bridge" (what's left of it) in Skagit county.
Some would find me odd (openly admitting this) but in more than one occasion I have been visited by an eagle. The Native American belief is that perhaps these frequencies might suggest a "totem animal" bringing messages or guidance to those they honor with their presence. If that isn't enough to make you wonder, try having a juvenile eagle land less than 6 feet in front of you at eye level and literally make spirdie sounds until it has your attention. Although it was my birthday (I considered the visit a gift) the message was personal and I clearly understood and was grateful. This birthday "gift" has happened many years as I have made it tradition to "be out of town" for my birthday since I was 20 something- outdoors usually being part of the formula.
This year was no different as I was destined to do a plein air study of Admiralty Lighthouse on Whitbey Island. Only problem, there were 30-50 mph winds but the eagles didn't seem to mind. First the pair of eagles (parent and juvenile) soared right over the top of the lighthouse spire, then they circled... just to be sure I was paying attention before coming and casting a shadow (in a cloudless sky) just long enough to have me look up. When I did stare in awe, they split formation. The juvenile lowered to maybe 10-15 feet above my head and slightly in front (I could see its eyes looking down toward me) and hovered (remember this is 30 mph constant winds gusting up to 50 mph- tail winds for the birds) while the adult rose straight up 35-40 feet or more like a balloon- of course it was so unbelievable I was reaching for a camera! This juvenile hovered above for well over a minute communicating its message beginning with "Put the camera away! That is not while I've come." When it was done it looked out to the ocean, back at me and rose up and out backwards fast, like an F-14 jet, to join the other eagle who had not broken formation.
plein air garden tour site
Okay birthday eagle, I was grateful for the visit, but then the next time I went to paint plein air (fox island garden tour- artist in the garden) at somebody's private estate 2 weeks later it happened again only this eagle was an adult. It waits until there is NOBODY viewing the back portion of the estate (we had over 150 people pass through in under 5 hours) and the other artist who was working there had gone inside the house for a minute. Here comes this eagle. perches at the top of the evergreen (maybe 25 feet away) that is right over my scene and commences to chattering away at me with a watchful eye. It chattered a few moments then waited in response but I guess the adults are harder for me to understand because I wasn't "getting the message" that the juveniles seem to deliver to me so easily. So it went back to chattering and I pawned it off to spirdie speak among its environment... not every eagle is bringing messages right? So for the person I shared the birthday story with, I pulled out the camera and took pictures which soon sent the adult indignantly on its way. Perhaps fifteen minutes later the eagle returned with reinforcements- 2 other eagles, a juvenile and another adult. They circled a few times, wowed the crowds and went along their merry way.
I once was told something to the effect of... if you are told once- listen, twice the same- pay closer attention but if the same thing is told to you 3 times- it may be true. So I am out at a lighthouse hundreds of miles from any of the other recent eagle encounters but it is a friend of mine's birthday so while she is enjoying the north shore of the ocean, I convince her to take her time while I check on the lighting of the lighthouse because if I can't be painting perhaps I can observe the color phenomena that I am watching change on this building... thinking how I would paint it. When I walk back to rejoin her, a pair of eagle come soaring over the hill and down the path right at me face on less than 3 feet from the ground. I was so in shock at their proximity to both me and the ground as they were closing in that I begin to pull my dog on a leash closer, ready to pick her up in case they are hunting. This doesn't alter their coarse as now I can see the yellow beaks staggered in formation so I shout to my friend (finally able to get a word out), "Eagles up the path!!! Eagles!!!" to which they come maybe 15 feet from where she is sitting, turn their heads to notice her movement glare back at me and lift and and bank a hard right altering coarse less than 20 feet from where I stood, again like fighter jets. I didn't insult them with the camera (it happened way too fast) but the message was clear and for the 3rd time that month... I was in awe!
I came upon a story about an artist who was hired to do a piece for a well paying client. The client waited and waited never hearing from the artist about his piece but thought to himself, 'Oh this must be some great work!' Finally the artist called the client and told him to come pick up the landscape. When he got there the client was led into solitary room where the artist set down a fresh piece of paper, dipped her brush and within moments made the most incredible piece and finished saying, "I hope you enjoy the piece.". The client became indignant with the artist and protested, "First you put me off indefinitely, then you expect me to pay you all this money for something you could have done in 5 minutes?!? You must have little respect for your clients or their intentions!" The artist sighed deeply, walked across the room, slides open a larger door to a room three times larger with stacks upon stacks of the same landscape she had perfected unmercifully since his request.
Inkwell#1tech reference details- pen& ink
So it is with the artist and I am no different. I host "honest efforts" of fault in the process... a study of life observations collected in books or on panels. This month the focus alternates between illustration, technical drawing and plein air work. Although my room may only have a few hundred
attempts, the hours upon hours of effort have not witnessed idle hands. - G.A. reinstilling callouses and other malformities of repetitive practices.
The end of the month found me working en plein air in Coupville. While attempting a paint study of Admiralty Lighthouse, I battling 30-50mph winds from the concrete bunker of Fort Casey, enduring the tray toss, the turpentine tump and repeated assaults of grass from the lawnmower dude. 3/4ths of the way into some sort of completion here comes "get the job done Gus" cutting the grass with his industrial sized paint texturizer. After the 3rd pass (less than 2 feet at eye level) I had more grass in the paint then there was paint on the panel; won't have to concern myself with color match on the grass, I have a physical reference! I retired the efforts in favor of having my lighthouse passbook stamped and looking for a new pair of lighthouse socks... what I wear when I plein air these sentries- like good luck.
When I left the lighthouse, there sat the grassy assailant, a good distance away, on his lawn mower with the power off. I did visually/mentally brand him with pity for the ignorance (or lack of respect) for ruining a 2 hour effort of challenging patience. Instead as I walked across the vast area of grass (between the lighthouse and where I was set up) I couldn't help but wonder why none of that longer grass had not been touched, after all, nobody walks where I was working along the roof of the underground bunkers. -G.A. on to greener (and possibly previously mowed) pastures.